Long-Term Manure Applications Impact on Irrigated Barley Forage Mineral Concentrations.

Benke, M.B., Indraratne, S.P., and Hao, X. (2013). "Long-Term Manure Applications Impact on Irrigated Barley Forage Mineral Concentrations.", Agronomy Journal, 105(5), pp. 1441-1450. doi : 10.2134/agronj2012.0204  Access to full text

Abstract

Long-term manure use near livestock feedlot operations can result in soil nutrient imbalances. We investigated the impact of continuous (37-yr) and discontinued (30-yr continuous + 7 yr without applications) manure applications on soil properties and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) yield and nutritive value under semiarid field conditions in southern Alberta, Canada. Feedlot cattle manure annual applications were 0, 60, 120, and 180 Mg ha-1 (wet weight) to an irrigated Chernozemic soil. After 37 yr, barley yields were not affected by manure applications, while forage crude protein (CP), NO3-N, P, K, and Zn concentrations increased (P < 0.01). Forage Ca/P ratios decreased and K/(Ca+ Mg) ratios increased with manure applications to critical levels of illness potential in ruminants. Discontinuing manure applications did not affect forage CP content; however, forage P and K concentrations declined (P < 0.01) with decreases in soil P and K. This resulted in the return of forage Ca/P ratios within the recommended levels. Seven years after manure applications were discontinued, forage Zn concentrations were similar to concentrations from unmanured plots. Although forage nutrient balances for animal nutrition improved after manure applications were discontinued, soil nutrient recovery was small, and soil P, K, and Zn concentrations in the discontinued plots remained greater (P < 0.01) than concentrations in the unmanured plots and well above those required for optimum crop growth.

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